… RBP to establish dedicated drug division in Thimphu and police stations across southern borders

Lhakpa Quendren

With too much-unwanted attention to the growing drugs and substance abuse in the country, the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) is upping their antenna to monitor the menace of drug trafficking and consumption.

Following His Majesty The King’s National Day address last year, the RBP determined that one of the most effective measures to curb drug abuse and illicit trafficking is to open a dedicated drug division in Thimphu and establish more police stations across the southern borders.

A national anti-drug task force has been formed, and the RBP has been asked to come up with a presentation on law and order.

The Deputy Chief of Police, Colonel Passang Dorji, said that stations would be established in the identified border areas and other places with high numbers of drug menaces. “We are prepared and it will open anytime soon.”

While the RBP has been closely monitoring and continuing to arrest drug dealers in the country, he said, it is an arduous task to find the suppliers and how it is entering the country.

This measure, he said, is expected to help get the whole of the drug traffickers. “We are trying to see the route from where the drugs are coming in, who is supplying, and how it is happening.”

Explaining how drug-trafficking threatens society, Colonel Passang Dorji, said, “Our youth and young people are getting spoiled and damaged because of those in the drug business.” 

“I went to all 20 dzongkhags and met officials including school principals, civil authorities and police personnel, and local government leaders to talk on crime and drug issues in the country. This has helped a lot,” he added.

Call for collaboration

Despite efforts from different stakeholders in the fight against drug-trafficking and the growing menace, an integrated and whole-of-society response has become even more critical with drugs and substance abuse issues weighing most heavily, especially on youths.

What typically is absent from these efforts are coordinated responses among stakeholders for advocacy and inadequate financial support and human resource to expand interventions and services.

Considering the emerging drug-related problems, the RBP feels the need for cooperation and coordination and is calling for collaborative efforts from all stakeholders sharing a common goal.

Colonel Passang Dorji said that fighting drug abuse is everyone’s responsibility. “It is our job to give the best, but are we doing enough? If we all do our part, things will improve.”

He added that parents and teachers should take their responsibility very seriously. “Children have to know that they have a responsibility and they take their responsibility seriously.”

“Every criminal that is coming up is the son and daughter of somebody. If all these responsibilities are taken care of, we will have a crime-free and drug-free society in the country,” he said.

A person found in possession of up to 20 pieces, or tablets of prohibited narcotics is not prosecuted, given that the person presents to Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority-approved drop-in centre for detoxification, counselling, or treatment.

However, a person in possession of more than 20 pieces of the same prohibited narcotic will be subject to prosecution for a criminal offence such as drug trafficking.

Such rules, according to police officials, make it even more difficult to control drug abuse. They say that there should not be a consideration of the number of drugs.